One of the highlights of my trip to Japan in September was a visit to the Kobe Fashion Museum. You can reach Kobe from Kyoto easily, and from the train station you can take a tram to the area where the museum is located. The building itself in quite extraordinary.
The photos included here were provided by the Museum itself. Photography was not allowed, and so the curator generously sent me some photos to share.
The current exhibit at the time of my visit was Digital X Fashion. This was most interesting, and of course a topic of great interest to me, as I study contemporary and future-forward textiles. Through the exhibit you could see how technology inspired the design of garments. Two fashion designers/companies were highlighted. The one that intrigued me the most was Anrealage. The name of the company comes from a combination of words of ''A REAL, UNREAL and AGE''. The Designer, Kunihiko Morinaga, was born in 1980 in Tokyo, graduated from Waseda University and Vantan Design Academy, and has received numerous awards. Go to their website, http://www.anrealage.com/ and look at the various collections. The Reflect collection (2016 Spring/Summer) uses fabrics that were photosensitive and thus responded to the flashes of light from cameras or the lighting (as was the case in the museum). One moment, a garment could be solid, and the next it was a ‘plaid’.
The second featured designer was Tamae Hirokawa of Somarta. Click on this link, tokyofashion.com/somarta-2011-ss/ to see a collection that shows her unique body suits (made popular on their own and by Lady Gaga). In past Ms. Hirokawa worked for Issey Miyake, but she started off on her own in 2006. Her designs are known to be more conceptual than functional.
The museum’s regular collection was also very good. Their collections included historical through modern. There were a few unique presentations. The first was a reconstruction of Napoleon’s coronation clothing. Here you can see it, in all its glory.
Here are some images from the historical collection.
The museum also had a collection of muslin (plain fabric) garments reconstructed as accurately to the time period of focus. These you could touch and examine. Sadly, I don’t have any photos of this part of the collection.
There was an area where garments through a range of years were presented, and I must say, it was an excellent sampling of various designers through the past 150 years, including Worth, Balenciaga, Dior, Vionnet, etc.
The Fashion Library at the Kobe Fashion Museum is one of the largest collections of books I’ve seen. Had I known about it before, I could have easily spent a week going through all the books.
If you get the chance, and are in Japan, do make Kobe a stop on your agenda, and go see the Fashion Museum and or visit the library.
Kobe Fashion Museum
2-9-1 Koyochonaka, Higashinada Ward, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture 650-0032, Japan+81 78-858-0050